Foundation Training for your Back and Posture

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My head was dreaming of taking a step, lying curled on my left side. The dream was in yellow tones and there were noises, people happy talking and somewhere the music of Built to Spill. I guess dreams work by association. I looked down and saw a yellow slick of oil, my foot, in an orange shoe, slipped, my legs jerked and I woke without completing the fall.

That was the end of sleep for a while; my muscles shuddered for a few seconds but the reverberations streamed into old loves and houses I had once lived in. I tried to remember their smells. The old love smelt of cigarettes and musk, while my old house smelt of jasmine in the summer and sandalwood in the winter. I remember most vividly the dinner parties where the house would echo with laughter and smell of roasting garlic.

I struggled to sleep and finally remembered my breath, it had grown jagged with memories. The short precise and filling inhale and the long exhale sent me again dreaming into the tropical night. This time I dreamt of birds and murmurs of starlings swirling into the dawn.

I’ll be returning to Sydney soon and on Sunday the 13th December I will hold a free Foundation Training Introduction event at Mort Bay Park Balmain. We will meet near the Balmain Ferry Terminal situated at the end of Thames Street Balmain. Apparently the weather has been variable in Sydney so I have a few Weather Witches ordering up a fine cool morning. In any event bring sunscreen, water and whatever protective clothing you deem necessary. Bring a yoga mat or towel so we can get to do some of the prone or supine strengthening and lengthening work.

I have attached a copy of the poster for the event, please let me know either by return email or on the day of the event if you have any difficulties, pains etc so you get looked after. I suggest you arrive ten minutes early to orient, exchange information, chat, meet and greet.

The class will teach you simple breath and postural decompressions and  introduce you a basic Founder, a back strengthener like no other. Here are two links to introduction to The Foundation Movement and Founder movement as it is affectionately known:

It will help you if you, at least, have some prior knowledge. I really look forward to seeing you at the park on Sunday.

Regards and love Maggi.

Kamikaze mosquitoes.


Mosquitoes buzz around my ankles like hummingbirds around nectar. I wear long skirts and repellent lotions and still they kamikaze fly into the chemical haze of my lower extremities and take one last bite. They dance in little fairy rings with their stinging noses sniffing the sweet blood in my veins.

Meals outdoors are a minor disaster for me, while my companion’s sup and dialogue I jiggle and itch and scratch and have to leave meals early, great for my waistline but my social life suffers.

Great red wheals of bites, great soaring fevers as the dengue plague hits my blood, great fear and irregular breathing, panic. I went the route once many years ago, of allowing myself to be bitten and to be present with the experience of mosquito bites. I watched the black suckers on my arm and felt them on my leg and within a few seconds on my eyelid and I went into the routine of the mozzie dance sweeping my limbs with flaying hands and retreating to netted safety.

The no sugar journey


Fish lie limp and shining on Formica bench tops, bones are hacked into smaller soup stock sizes. Strong hands shred long lotus flower stems of its outer skin and fish disintegrate in big boiling aluminum pots.

The house is permeated with savory smells of cooking. The hot steamy kitchen, lit by the harsh single fluro light is a condensation of steam and illuminates piles of finely chopped green vegetables ready to dash into the soup.

Big plastic dishes of tofu, diced pumpkin and bok choy wait next to the rice steamer and in this mix, the more than healthy handfuls of salt tossed into the soup stock are balanced by the national obsession sugar.
Every meal marks a fine line between satiation and sugar toxicity.

Avoiding the Sugar (white death) Trap


It was clear from the beginning that my latest endeavour would be fraught with difficulty. The comment, “Not having sugar.” As I was offered a plate of cake/biscuits/sugar laden fish sauce, was not going to go down well.

The rich salad in front of me tasted of earthly delights. The red capsicum crunched vigorously in my mouth, olive oil ran over my tongue, made all the more piquant by sharp vinegar. Munching with zest the small lettuce leaves, the sharp taste and texture of Greek feta cheese mingling made mouthwatering delight.

Still the biscuits and sugar came with every coffee and still the looks of incredulity on people’s faces when I decline their sugar. Formerly I would take the offered sweet and play with it on my plate and no one was any the wiser but now I’ve decided to step out of the sugar free closet and will go to great lengths to avoid the sugar traps.

Cambodian Bling or Enlightenment, not sure…

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I love lighting shops, hanging gardens of light. Cities with a certain amount of pizzazz engender amazing ceramic and glass masterpieces, and the Nordic design ethic of foldable and affordable has birthed wonderful paper creations that surround a multitude of expensive designer bulbs.

On the other hand, Asia has a heavy handed design ethic. The Chinese love large, heavy, dark, overly carved furniture. The lighting shops spawned are, a blur of light in impossible chandeliers, more bling and sparkle than even the most enlightened Buddha has experienced. It’s light heaven or hell depending on your taste. The chandelier shops are full of switches and fans, the hanging crystals and baubles often tinkle in the fan blasts.

As I walked into the light shop my eyes were, of course, drawn to the ceiling, I cringed at the onslaught of extravagant, ostentatious design. The myriad blue cool lights, the blinking colored lights, the mellow yellow bulbs hiding amongst the glare.

I reached out to look at the price of a particularly offensive layer cake light and the price was as high as the taste was poor. The shop was suddenly plunged into darkness, all the more shocking because of the contrast. I could hear the road sounds and shuffling of the staff. Within seconds my eyes adjusted and the lights became dull shapes above me and the dim light from the distant street windows shone gentle and forgiving into the room.

Saturday escape

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The air is full of petrol fumes and dust. Phnom Penh is having a building boom and every block has its ugly high security fence and pavements are littered with building debris and left over ideas. Dirt, concrete, tiles, random steps. Cars are parked across the pavements, disabled access friendly this city is not. It appears you can build whatever obstacles you like.

Much as I love the subtle flavors of Khmer food, I sometimes just hafta find something familiar, something coffee fueled and peaceful. It’s a bit of a Tuk Tuk ride but the calm garden hippy café, Farm to Table, is heaven. The beetroot salad with honey dressing with good coffee, that felt and tasted like liquid love, soothed my addled tropo mind.

Turtles idled in a pond, bantams with fantastic feathered leggings wondered about. Today being Saturday the kiddies squealed and burst balloons while climbing over the old red tractor next to the turtle pond and herb seedling stands.

The Rainy Season







The fetid heat has started to crush the lungs of Phnom Penh. The monsoon wind rushes into the streets and squabbles with itself lifting dust and grit into unwary eyes.

The sky is stained with inky black clouds that loom and send spears of lightening into the sprawling city and thunder rolls around the skies. The Tuk Tuk drivers quickly tie plastic covers over their cabs and don their thin orange or pink raincoats. It’s a colourful season.

The thick plopping rain starts. Dry concrete is temporally decorated with wet leopard’s spots suddenly obliterated by the soaking deluge.

The locals a week or so after the September full moon visit the temples to make offerings to the orange and maroon clad priests at the gold Buddha’s feet. Old women offer packets of Paracetamol to the Buddha for the priests who like the rest of this city have spiking fevers and dry coughs.

The Art of Global Change.


This new world is full of hope and despair. The Golden Calf is still the object of our prayers. How to get rich, create financial success, manifest money, refine your purpose to include riches…. Hummmm… How did we get so far from the truth of relationships, with 95% of the assets and money in the hands of 1 or 2 % of our earth’s population.

We cannot sit comfortably with ourselves if one person starves let alone millions. I certainly am not content with a world where conflict over beliefs escalates into blaming hate and killing.  The more poverty we engender the more likely people are to express themselves by survival driven fearful acts of desperation.

So how can little old you or me start to act differently, err on the side of generosity instead of suspicion? It is not asked of many of us to make sacrifices for the common good but you and I can support those who feel so called.

Each individual has an area of interest, whether it be climate change, sustainable housing or agriculture, cultural enrichment, feeding the starving or supporting recovery from addiction. My area of expertise is consciousness and its development.

The development of awareness, compassion and the presence of our own connection to humanity’s choices and our contribution to the direction we will go.  What  inheritance we will leave our children?

The world is at a turning point, we cannot waste any more time or resources on clothing the rich and despoiling the poor and the lands they inhabit. The solution lies in each of us to spark compassion and act from that place no matter how seemingly insignificant.

Yep act locally think globally. Awareness and developing a sensitivity of yourself and others is crucial.
To that end I am running the ART Of WALKING this Sunday 9:30am at Yoga Phnom Penh–courses.html

Feeding the Hungry Ghosts

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Today we celebrate the Chung-Yuan Festival feast, we fed the Hungry Ghosts. In this 7th lunar month the dead ancestors are allowed to visit their living relatives.

Moggallana was one of the Buddha’s best students. He had various supernormal powers and “owned the divine eyes”. One day, he saw that his deceased mother had been born among hungry ghosts. He went down the Hell, filled a bowl with food to provide for his mother. Before reaching his mother’s month, the food turned into burning coals which couldn’t be eaten.

Moggallana cried sorrowfully and asked for help from Buddha. Buddha said the sins of his mother were deep and firmly rooted, it couldn’t be forgiven just using divine power, it required the combined power of a thousand monks to get rid of her sins. Buddha told Moggallana that, “the 15th day of the 7th lunar month is the Pavarana Day for the assembled monks of all directions. You should prepare an offering of clean basins full of hundreds of flavours and the five fruits, and other offerings of incense, oil, lamp, candles.

Following Buddha’s instructions, Moggallana’s mother obtained liberation from sufferings as a hungry host by receiving the power of the merit and virtue form the awesome spiritual power of assembled monks on 15th day of the 7th lunar month.

Today in Phnom Penh we had a feast, prepared and laid out. While we waited outside for the hungry ghosts to eat we burnt paper symbols of money, cars, rolex watches, passports, unlimited visa cards for our ancestors to use on their journey. After the ritual fire and paper offerings we ate a feast like no other.


Monsoon and Markets


The chaos of an Asian city is all around me, the dark markets, filled with slabs of meat and rows of greener than green vegetables. Next to the slabs of meat the fish still slither in red plastic containers. The drains are full of puddles, the air is humid.


The moment I hit daylight out of the market, the men call “Tuk Tuk?” or “Bike.” I have a standard hand signal to signify a no. I bend my arm at the elbow and raise and wave my hand into a low stop sign. Travel in Phnom Penh is super easy and cheap. In the hotter months it is difficult to even walk a couple of blocks. , so Tuk Tuks get a good workout, not so much the ex-pat.


The streets do not have even surfaces and I always have to pick my way through unexpected steps, rough concrete, pot holes and the ever present rows of motor bikes all lined up on what passes for a parking lot.


There are more restaurants in this city than you can imagine. The local population is food crazy, the local cafes are full at night, the night markets full of food stalls and the sounds and smells of sizzling food.


The smell of cooking is everywhere, every street corner has a café. Cafes that are literally holes in the wall and that is often next door to some swanky new restaurant.


Cambodia is fast becoming a leading food destination. Khmer food has its own unique flavors. The fruits are wondrous, the vegetable are prepared in a sauce often with a soup, always with rice, and a meat or chicken dish. The flavors are wondrous, wholesome and steeped in the concept of food as a medicine.


I had a viral flu so was not allowed to eat anything sweet until I stopped coughing. I missed the bananas baked in banana leaves and the glutinous cakes.


I still have some congestion and for two weeks now I have eaten almost no sugar, it gets easier every day. A delicate Jasmine tea, and a small bowl of food are causing the excesses of a western lifestyle to melt off me.


The monsoon rains have come, so often in the afternoon, the sky darkens and a sudden squall drops the temperature and the rain over the teeming roofs and gutters. The tuk tuk drivers quickly lower the plastic and canvas tarps over the side of the passengers and in plastic raincoats the traffic goes on. In the markets the rain drips in and the drains refill, the air is cooler and the rough roads stretched thin with deceptively deep potholes.